Understanding The Different Elements Of Graphic Design

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The different elements of graphic design are put together in such a way as to create an image which conveys a certain message. However graphic design is not the same as other elements of design such as the balance between the different design elements and white space that make up the majority of the presentation. Instead graphic design is all about the colour, the images and the type face used. To follow are details of some of the most common elements that are used in compiling a complete graphic design media presentation.

Graphic Design Elements

The most common elements of graphic design can be broken down onto the following areas.


Shape has been at the root of design right back to the ancient cave paintings that have been found all over the world. Shapes are used to illustrate layout, define patterns and can be put together to format different elements. All of the software packages allow the user to both create and manipulate different shapes, allowing for ease of design creation.

Image Credit: Square Dance.


Lines have a number of uses. They draw the eye to specific elements of the design as well as separate different sections of content, for example as elements of web design. Lines do not have to be straight to have impact, zigzag lines and sweeping curves can be used as defining elements within a design.

Photo Credit: Zephyrance.


Colour not only adds interest to a design it has impact. The fantastic thing about colour is that it can be added to any other design element that is being used. And the important thing about colour is that it can totally transform a bland design element into something more important, something that evokes an emotional response from the target audience.



Type is everywhere you look, on just about every advertising surface that you will encounter. It may look pretty simple but a great deal of thought goes into the size, colour and font of the text as well as the thought that goes into the words that are used. Type is an important communication tool and the right words used in the right way can have more impact than any other element. Text can even be used to create image forms and shapes too, so its importance is twofold.

Image Credit: thebudman84.


The use of the right image can make a campaign successful, just as the use of the wrong image can make cause an advertising campaign to fail. Images, illustrations and photographs can support a premise, promote an ideal and reinforce any text that is used. A great image can grab the attention of the audience and draw them in to find out more about whatever is being advertised.

Photo Credit: BALOONING


Texture does not have to be three dimensional, the impression of texture can be achieved using graphic elements. The impression that graphics have been layered can impart a sense of depth and even luxury. So much can be achieved with the clever use of the elements of graphic design.

Colour Magic
Image Credit: Colour Magic

Mark Adamson is an experienced graphic designer, specialising in providing artwork for a range of different businesses - he regularly visits Smart UK for more design tips.